As a proud, card-carrying geek, I pride myself on being able to find some useful gadget to make my life (and my wife’s) a lot easier. Unfortunately, not everything you see on the shelves is as useful as it appears on television. As Seen on TV products can be found all over the place from electronic stores to pharmacies. It’s almost as though you can’t turn around without bumping into an aluminum wallet or seat-belt animal.
Let’s be clear: these products aren’t exactly considered to be of top quality. They’re made to solve a problem you didn’t know you even had. Clever sales pitches driven by animated pitch professionals in the middle of the night combined with sleep deprivation make these products look way cooler than they actually are.
The Robo Stir sounds like a great idea, and I bought into it. Frankly, I hate standing at the stove stirring soup and/or sauces when I could be putting some rounds down range in Call of Duty or taking out weak Zergling rushes in StarCraft II.
Unfortunately, this gadget does little more than entertain you as it dances across the counter. Once you put it in a pot and turn it on, it doesn’t actually stir anything. All it does is vibrate and maybe latch on to a tiny area of the cooking surface.
This happens because the natural balance of a stove isn’t perfectly flat. Stove tops are usually set at a slight incline with the front being a hair higher than the back. This is done for a number of reasons, but it throws the Robo Stir off and keeps it from working. Unless your stove surface is perfectly flat, it really doesn’t work as well as described in the commercials.
You might think that the Snuggie deserves a place in this list, but when you compare it to the Snazzy Napper nap system, it doesn’t hold a candle. The Snazzy Napper is basically a blanket with a matching face mask. It’s neither incredibly comfortable nor particularly practical. If you really need a blanket and eye mask, just bring some of your own. A handy travel pouch that doubles as a pillow is hardly a breakthrough idea.
Like many working geeks, I own dogs to keep me company in the home office. Potty training isn’t exactly a lot of fun, and having puppies in the house usually means having to deal with the occasional mess.
My wife and I decided to get a Potty Patch after bringing in our second dog, Apollo. Despite being about four years old, Apollo had a problem with bladder control when we first got him. He appeared to be potty trained, but accidents are expected upon adoption.
We decided to try the Potty Patch out with him and see if it really worked. Well, guess what? It doesn’t.
Rocky, our first dog, avoids it like the plague. He’s terrified of it for some reason and he won’t even enter the general area where it is if he can avoid it. Apollo stood on it and lifted his leg extra high so he hit the wall instead of the Potty Patch. Needless to say, it’s not exactly a miracle solution. Stick to training pads.
When it comes to ridiculous inventions, this one takes the cake. It’s a fake golf club that you can keep in your bag in the event that nature calls while you’re out on the range. Yes, you, too, can relieve yourself without leaving the green before that big putt.
The only question I have to ask (aside from why anyone would buy one in the first place) is how anyone expects their caddy to carry their bag knowing that one of THOSE is in it?
Do I even need to start talking about just how terrible this product concept is? Yes, it may help tone your arms and get rid of your wings. The heavens may part and unicorns might dance the bunny hop, but you’re still going to look like a complete idiot using one of these.
What about you? What is the worst product you’ve ever seen pitched on an infomercial?
Photo: Screen Capture of Shake Weight Infomercial